Rhino's Ramblings: Strangest Election Ever


Robert Thomas

“I don’t know anything about these people running,” is something I heard over and over again on the weekend.

Given it is the eve of a byelection I decided to do the full tour of all of the local haunts where people about my age gather to see what their feelings were about voting and, for many, they are unlikely to vote for the simple reason that they know very little about the candidates. They haven’t met them, they don’t know what they stand for nor can they even recognize them.

It could well be an “eenie meanie miney moe” sort of a decision in the voter's booth.

People who want to vote just don’t know which one of the four councillor candidates they’re voting for. Some are saying it’s not worth it as they’re all the same – big promises and no results.

For the candidates out there, it’s a little bit different in a byelection as the traditionally low voter turnouts is an obstacle and on top of that you’ve got an electorate who right now are a little bit apathetic. If a candidate can find someone prepared to vote for them they’ve hit gold.

From the younger crowd I ran into I heard some complaints about seniors out voting and how they are always, it seems, voting against progress. I even heard nasty comment hoping seniors simply stay home this election.

Most won’t believe me when I tell them but in 2010 the dominant economic household group – 15 percent - in the city earned $10,000 - $20,000 annually while 19 percent of Canadian households had an income over $100,000. Pretty startling stuff now isn’t it?

Could it be that naysayers and fixed-income seniors maybe aren’t against progress at all. Could it be that they simply cannot afford to finance it?

Others I met out on the coffee circuit flat out asked me who I voted for because I spent a good hour or more with all four candidates and could therefore judge better than they could. All I could tell them was to take a read of the four profiles I wrote, some of our other coverage and then decide for themselves. Better yet, contact the candidates themselves.

I ran into my neighbour having coffee up on South Hill. He knew one of the candidates for years and all he had to do was talk about that candidate and I’m guessing instantly half a dozen people are voting based upon what he said. It’s just that simple. Any kind of positive words about any of them from someone who they trust and that’s the way people are voting.

With the bad weather we’ve been having in October it hasn’t been the greatest when it comes to door-knocking, which in this byelection could be key to who ends up elected in the end. People are less prepared to open their doors when it’s cold and miserable outside and chat on a cold and wet doorstep.

I stopped in at three of the high rise apartments I have relatives living in downtown and it was the same thing. All I could do was point them to our site.

So here is what I can tell you from the 12 hour circuit I took on Saturday. If people do decide to go out and vote this is by far the toughest election I’ve ever had to call. There is no indication which way any of them are voting and in the confusion of it all you never know what’s going to happen.

To assist people to make a more informed decision here are some links about the candidates and some of the issues:

Coffee With Heather Eby

Coffee With Doug Blanc

Coffee With Mike Bachiu

Coffee With Steven White